On August 30, gamers in the United States will finally get their hands on Omega Force’s well-reviewed video game adaptation of Attack on Titan, the story of a bunch of kids who fill their time taking down maniacal, naked giants.
Already a hit in Japan, both the game and the anime series on which it is based tell the story of several cadets in the Survey Corps, a militia-style group that’s been tasked with taking down a mindless group of encroaching Titans, mysterious giants with a serious hunger for human flesh.
It’d be kind of dumb to expect a game where normal-sized people are fighting giants to be a slow affair, but the combat at the center of Attack on Titan looks like something altogether different and much more kinetic than anything Omega Force has done before.
How It’s Usually Done
Most gamers have some kind of familiarity with Koei Tecmo and Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors, which puts players in the shoes of a famed Chinese warrior and then sends them out onto the battlefield to murder hundreds of helpless soldiers at a time. In those games, the focus isn’t necessarily on speed as much as dexterity (i.e. the ability to pull off ridiculous combos).
The joy is derived from learning the various combos applicable to each of the characters and putting them to good use against packs of enemy soldiers.
The Horde is Gone
For Attack on Titan, Omega Force has canned the vast armies for which they’re known in favor of a new challenge. As a member of the Survey Corps, your goal is to keep Titans from breaching the city walls and running amok through the town. As they attack in groups of four to six, it’ll be up to you to traverse each level in a mad dash to keep your village whole.
In order to accomplish that task, cadets in the Survey Corp are outfitted with Vertical Maneuvering Equipment. These steampunk-themed accessories are essentially backpacks that shoot out zip lines and grappling hooks on the fly, allowing players to target various weak points on their aggressors.
Titans aren’t going to get taken down in just one blow, though. They roll around in scattered groups, which means players can expect to spend a significant portion of their time swinging through the city in search of new kills.
The propulsion system looks dynamic (and way more innovative than anything we’ve seen in recent Spider-Man games), but coupled with some of Attack on Titan’s gameplay mechanics the effect may be staggering.
New Mechanics Make Things More Frantic
In addition to the constant — and fun-looking — zipping around you’ll be doing, Attack on Titan is, again, tasking you with killing incredibly resilient giant creatures who are doing their best to gobble up the innocent civilians in your care. When you happen upon one of these fellas, you’ll need to hit a few weak points in order to soften them up for the killing stroke.
This means flying around and through the Titan’s flailing limbs to find the right angle before you lunge forward when you’ve got the right kind of shot. In other words, the moment to moment combat promises lots of spinning camera work and blurred imagery.
Then, there’s the added stress of being a protector. Every level plays like a castle defense game, which means while you’re focused on one Titan, three or four more are working on bashing down the walls protecting your citizens. So, when you knock down one mindless a-hole, you don’t have time to celebrate before swinging away to try and tackle the next durable destroyer.
It makes Sunset Overdrive look like a snooze-fest.
Tiring, But Purposeful
In the world of Attack on Titan, humanity is on its last legs. No one knows where the Titans have come from, and the giants have attacked so persistently for more than 100 years there are only a handful of people left. Those impossible stakes are actually heightened by the game’s frantic pace.
In Attack on Titan, the longer you fight, the more people die. It’s not enough to be deadly anymore, you have to move quickly. It looks like Omega Force has taken that mandate and amped things up to a sadistic, new level.
If you’re a twitch gamer, then Attack on Titan is something you should absolutely keep your eyes on when it releases in the US on August 30.